FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF RAPIDES, NO.
259, 927 HONORABLE GEORGE C. METOYER, JR., DISTRICT JUDGE
Deirdre Renee Fuller Fuller Law Firm, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Jordan Bryant.
Landry Attorney General Lewis O. Lauve, Jr. Special Assistant
Attorney General COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Andrea Ford
Landry Attorney General Barbara Bell Melton Special Assistant
Attorney General Nate W. Friedman Special Assistant Attorney
General Faircloth Melton & Sobel, LLC COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Thaddeus Green.
Landry Attorney General Leisa B. Lawson Assistant Attorney
General COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Department of
Children and FamilyServices
Landry Attorney General Steven M. Oxenhandler Special
Assistant Attorney General Michael J. O'Shee Special
Assistant Attorney General COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES:
State of Louisiana, Department of Health and Hospitals Office
for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities Pinecrest
Supports & Services Center
composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, Shannon J. Gremillion, and
John E. Conery, Judges.
SHANNON J. GREMILLION, JUDGE
Mr. Jordan Bryant, appeals the dismissal of his personal
injury claim against the Defendants/Appellees, Andrea Ford,
Thaddeus Green, and the State of Louisiana through the
Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), the Office for
Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (OCDD), Pinecrest
Supports & Services Center (Pinecrest), and the
Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) on
exceptions of prematurity and prescription.
facts alleged in Mr. Bryant's original petition assert a
very tragic incident in which Ford and Green, employed at the
time by Pinecrest, took Mr. Bryant, a resident of Pinecrest,
into his room and used excessive force to subdue him. As a
result, Mr. Bryant's neck was broken, and he was rendered
a quadriplegic. In his petition, he alleged a number of
negligent and intentional acts and omissions on the
defendants' part, including allegations that sound as
though at least part of his demand is based upon medical
malpractice. Prior to filing his suit, though, Mr. Bryant did
not request that his matter be submitted to a medical review
panel (a panel) pursuant to the Medical Liability for State
Services Part of the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act (the
Act), La.R.S. 40:1237.1 et seq., which, with certain
exceptions, requires that medical malpractice claims against
the State first be submitted to a panel.
defendants filed exceptions of prematurity and prescription
in which they asserted that Mr. Bryant's claim was
premature because he did not convene a panel and had
prescribed because more than a year elapsed since his injury
and he had not initiated his claim properly. Mr. Bryant
amended his petition several times in an attempt to address
the exceptions. At the hearing on the exceptions, no evidence
was introduced. No documentary evidence was attached to any
of the defendants' exceptions. The trial court granted
the exceptions as to all defendants. This appeal followed.
Mr. Bryant asserts that the trial court erred in granting
Appellees' exceptions of prematurity and prescription
because they failed to carry the requisite burden of proof.
He further asserts that the trial court erred in applying the
Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act to the allegations asserted
in his petition. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.
erects a framework within which all medical malpractice
claims against state health care providers must be pursued.
"'Malpractice' means the failure to exercise the
reasonable standard of care specified and required by
Subsection B of this Section, in the provision of health
care, when such failure proximately causes injury to a
patient, as provided in Subsection B of this Section."
La.R.S. 40:1237.1(A)(4). The definition of "State health
care provider" is lengthy; however, it essentially
encompasses all state departments and agencies that provide
health care services, including their employees acting in the
course and scope of their employment. La.R.S.
action against the state, its agencies, or a person covered
by this Part, or his insurer, may be commenced in any court
before the claimant's complaint has been presented to a
state medical review panel established ...